With the Tournament of Roses Queen and Court looking on, dozens of miniature floats rolled past hundreds last Friday to the applause and fanfare from those taking in Arroyo Vista Elementary School’s 35th annual Tournament of States Parade.
Circling the playground, one after another, 122 fifth graders pulled their entries in front of appreciative parents, friends, special guests and Tournament of Roses officials after spending the past three months researching a selected state, learning about its geography, documenting it all in advance of building their creations.
“Each float displays the important features of the state and, in keeping with the tradition of Pasadena’s annual Tournament of Roses Parade, each float is covered with all natural materials,” Rocko Soltelo, joined by a group of AV fifth graders at the microphone, told the large gathering.
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Speaking into the microphone, fifth graders Talon Ebbert and Lindy Bose welcomed distinguished guests, among them members of the Board of Education, principals from local school district, the South Pasadena City Council, Police Chief Joe Ortiz and Tournament President Laura Farber. In addition, present were members of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee, including float builders and decorators Joss Rogers, Buz Carter, Carrie Russell, Leland Glauz and Janet Benjamin.
Keeping a close eye on the floats going by in front of them were members of the 2019 Tournament of Roses Royal Court: Rose Queen Camille Kennedy, and Rose Princesses Cole Fox (from South Pasadena), Emilie Risha, Rukan Saif, Reese Rosental, Saporito, Mia Thorsen and Michael Wilkins.
Atticus Jones, the final fifth grader to address the spectators, told the large gathering “We could not have created our floats without our parents. We want to thank them sincerely for guiding us, for helping us glue and create and build, and for helping us to persevere in order to complete this amazing project. Mom and Dad, thanks for all you do everyday to help us learn, grow and succeed.”
Arroyo Vista has three core values “that are a part of all we do,” continued Jones. “These values are diversity, integrity and respect. By studying about the geography, climate, economy, history, and places of interest, of the different states in the United States of America, we have learned to appreciate and respect the diversity of the people and places in this great country of ours. We have developed a new respect for our country and see so many reasons why we are fortunate to live in the great United States of America!”